Second-Hand Smoke and Public Policy: It’s Not Just Hot Air

Schulman, Eli

"As long ago as 1890, the Supreme Court of Louisiana upheld an ordinance prohibiting smoking on streetcars, recognizing the "material annoyance, the inconvenience, and the discomfort" that smoking causes the majority of passengers, and further recognized that, "there is not only discomfort, but possible danger to health from the contaminated air." [State v. Hedenhain, 7 SD 621 (11890)] Over 100 years later, an ever-growing body of scientific evidence continues to document the severity of health hazards posed by second-hand smoke, known in scientific circles as environmental tobacco smoke (ETS), inhaled by non-smokers, "involuntary smokers." While the scientific community has evaluated ETS, public policy has, to this point, lagged hopelessly behind. Public policy must accept the challenge of environmental tobacco smoke head-on, and work toward a ban on smoking in enclosed public areas. To best understand how public policy should evaluate ETS, it will be helpful to consider the dangers posed by environmental tobacco smoke, the paths through which public policy might seek to respond to these dangers, and the obstacles which policy efforts might encounter in confronting the problem."--from page 17

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The Journal of Politics and Society

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Helvidius Group
Helvidius Group of Columbia University
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February 14, 2014